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Born in Denver
Hi Jerry –
You bring up a very good point I try not to ever forget. Among some there is the perception that the Visitor (tourist) pays a majority of the City sales taxes (4%) collected. This is not the case and has not been for a decade or more. Using the aggregate of sales tax collected 2008-2015 data (pre/post recovery), including sales tax collected on lodging, the Local vs. Visitor share is about a 60/40 split and growing. Remove lodging (typically the visitors largest expense) from the analysis the split is closer to 70/30.
The major source of the sales tax collected by the City of Steamboat Springs is from the Miscellaneous Retail category. This category accounts for 45%+ of the total. The Locals vs. Visitors share in this category is about 75/25. A major reason for this large split is that sales taxes are collected on groceries. It is relatively easy to make the case that collecting sales tax on groceries is regressive and is a major reason why the state of Colorado and many municipalities and counties do not do it.
Since the Chambers’ request for $100,000 would come out of the City’s general fund, I do not like the alignment of it because the Local population, and the sales tax share that it pays, is bearing the greatest burden. This is essentially the same struggle I have with the .25% sales tax dedicated to the air program. The .25% sales tax was an attempt to democratize the tax – (everybody pays).
Per Jim, “the new group sales program would aim to reduce the "peaks and valleys" of the visitor seasons and attract more groups…”
Not to be misunderstood I understand the need/opportunity a focus conference sales effort is trying to achieve. Without question during the “valleys” there is excess lodging capacity. How much opportunity exist to address the “valley” of the Peaks/Valley Jim Clark references I am going to leave to him to define. The key question before City Council is who should pay for this effort? This should prove to be an interesting discussion on Tuesday evening.
(Although I am a member of City Council, my opinions are my own and may not be those shared by my fellow council members.)
It would appear that the local’s share of marijuana sales within the city limits account for about 80% of total sales annual sales in 2015. From my perspective I would have thought that the visitors share of marijuana sales would have been higher. I am glad we are breaking out marijuana sales out apart from miscellaneous retail.
(Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be those of my fellow council members.)
I read them until they become too goofy. So far so good on the exchange that is occurring. I am still reading. I appreciate the viewpoints.
Good Morning Michael –
What do I think? Mobile Home Parks can be part of the solution. There just has not been the political will to allow them. On May 21, 2013 City Council discussed Mobile Home Parks in some detail.
“After hearing from community members who strongly supported and opposed the project, the council voted, 4-2, to deny the Williams Family Partnership's appeal to rezone land near Copper Ridge Circle to allow the park.”
I was not on City Council at this time, however, I was sitting in the audience as this discussion unfolded. It was a discussion that was passionate on both sides pro/con. The key issue was whether or not a mobile home park was a compatible use in an area zoned for industrial use? This was the key and deciding issue.
Councilwoman Cari Hermacinski said despite those concerns, she supported the project and said it offered a “private-sector solution” to adding more affordable housing in the city.
One of the ironies that I see, is that this proposed 27-unit mobile home park cannot be more than half mile up CR 129 from where the YVHA project for 48 low-income, (highly government subsidized) apartment complex is going to be built.
I wonder that if this same mobile home park project re-surfaced today what the reception would be?
(Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be those shared by my fellow council members.)
“If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.” (Alice in Wonderland)
From my perspective there are three key challenges as the housing discussion begins yet again:
1. Avoiding the temptation of jumping to goals/solutions too quickly.
2. Not taking the time to define clearly what the desired outcome looks like, (What is success?) And how is it going to be measured routinely and objectively over time?
3. Presuming that completing a list of goals is the key measurement of success.
I am encouraged by how YVHA is starting this discussion. Seeking to define the problem by slices is a very good first step.
• Seasonal Workforce
• Permanent Workforce Housing – Low Income
• Permanent Workforce Housing – Entry Level
• Permanent Workforce Housing – Move up
I think identifying the basic problem for each of these slices will be reasonably easy. It does not need to be studied.
In the past the discussions/efforts have been relatively ineffective because folks fell into the temptation of jumping to solutions/goals too quickly before the desired outcome was clearly defined, and equally important how progress is going to be measured? This has been a critical flaw in the past discussions/efforts.
I am cautiously optimistic about having this discussion. It is an important discussion to have. However, as soon as I hear “goals” or worse yet “strategic plan” before clearly defining the desired outcome – I will become highly skeptical.
(Although I am a member of City Council my opinions are my own and may not be shared by my fellow council members.)
On January 29th I attended a conference titled the Assembly – the focus of this year’s conference was THE PEAKS AND VALLEYS OF MOUNTAIN TOURISM. One of the persenters was Tom Marano, CEO, Intrawest. He gave an overview of Interwest’s real estate holdings by the resort.
Resort Owned Developable Acres
Steamboat, CO. 27;
Winter Park, CO. 95;
Stratton Mountain Resort, VT. 161;
Snowshoe Mountain, WV. 359;
Mont Tremblant Resort, Quebec 494;
This article states that, "Intrawest believes the city sees an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 visitors during peak summer weekends."
This would be an interesting trick with about 3,400 nightly units available having a maximum pillow capacity of about 20,000. I am not saying that it is impossible but this would mean that there are a lot of folks, sleeping on the floor, staying with friends/family, camping or sleeping in vehicles I suppose.
Hi Fred –
I appreciate your perspective. Others have expressed similar feelings to me.
The work of the Citizens Committee is not being ignored. I am very sad that the possibility of doing a joint facility is evaporating. There are a host of financial and logistical positives associated with it.
A joint facility was the Citizen’s Committee recommendation and one City Council embraced. However, to make this happen it takes two to tango – the City came to the dance. Initially the county thought that they wanted to dance as well. However, on second thought they did not want to dance right now and could not provide a time horizon for if and when they would want to dance. The city asked nicely if they wanted to dance and for a host of reasons outlined in prior newspaper articles they have declined. Their decision is disappointing.
Ok, what next? Can or should the City wait until the County is ready? The reality is the county may not be ready for a very long time. Last night was council coming to the shared realization of the County’s decision not to dance.
I do not see City Council starting all over from the very beginning in this process. The Citizens Committee and staff have vetted a host of possible sites for the police station. The new city council members have not had the opportunity to fully digest this information. Since the construction of a new police facility will be the largest single capital expenditure the City has ever made, I am willing to let them chew on it. It is wise to give folks time to digest and discuss this information because this will be this City Councils’ collective decision and it is a lot of money.
PS. Thank you Tyler Goodman for sticking around to provide “public comment” at 10:30 pm.
The all-inclusive cost for the street lamps is annual.
Good Morning Stephen –
With the infrastructure improvements that will be occurring over the next few years street lighting is a major component of the plan. For all of downtown the new street lights (100+ of them) will cost about an additional $60,000 annually.
City is charged by YVEA for each pedestrian light. For example, the City currently pays $364.82 for any 1-100-watt High Pressure Sodium (HPS) Decorative light and 10’ pole per year (sidewalk type). For the intersection type the City pays $755.87 for any 1-250 watt HPS Decorative light and 25’ pole per year. This charge includes electricity, maintenance and replacement of the poles and associated poles.
The LED festival lights currently strung across Yampa Street the City is responsible for and the cost is about $15 per month.
The investors always have some risk associated with the purchase of a bond. However, the chances that the City would default are essentially non-existent. As an option the City Council could purchase some of these Iron Horse bonds with the proceeds from the sell. This approach has some pros/cons
In conjunction with the downtown infrastructure improvements scheduled over the summer 2016-18, the City will be issuing $4 million in bonds via certificates of participation. Citizens Hall and the City offices will be the collateral for this debt. Another option would be to use the proceeds of the Iron Horse sale to off-set this $4 million. This approach has some pros/cons as well.
The challenge in my mind is to keep the big picture clearly in focus. At some point in time the City, with all that it is doing and is planning on doing, will outrun its current sources of revenue. This is not a crisis yet – but there is some urgency to the issue. At the present time there are a host of options available to address the issue. However, the longer the hard work to address it is put off only means that fewer options are available.
We do not need another Tax Policy/Citizen Committee to study this. The work that was done in 2003 and updated in 2007 clearly identified the problem. The same problem exists today. The magnitude of the issue only grows with each passing year.
Last login: Friday, June 17, 2016
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